Kurdish peshmerga fighters who wrestled the symbolic Iraqi town of Sinjar back from Islamic State (Isis) have engaged in another endeavour: raising a giant Kurdistan flag in the liberated town.
According to local reports, 200 peshmerga participated in hoisting the flag:
The 100-metre long and 60-metre wide flag was being raised on a Sinjar silo:
Some wondered whether it was the biggest Kurdish flag ever raised:
Kurdish forces entered Sinjar after cutting it off from east and west in a joint offensive with yazidi forces, backed by US airstrikes on IS.
Hundreds of pershmerga fighters were seen walking into the town and along a main road. Since the Operation Free Sinjar campaign began, the Kurds have captured more than 150 square km from IS. They took up positions along the key Highway 47 – which supplies weapons, fighters and commodities to the jihadist group – between Raqqa in Syria and the Iraqi city of Mosul.
About 7,500 Kurdish special forces, peshmerga and Yazidi fighters joined the fight.
From the top of Mount Sinjar, Kurdistan regional president Masoud Barzani announced the liberation of the city, which had been seized by IS in summer 2014.
IS captured Sinjar during its 2014 offensive in the northern Iraqi province of Mosul. Facing death, tens of thousands of the Yazidi ethnic minority, which IS considers heretics, fled to the Sinjar mountain, where they were besieged for months. Men who could not escape were killed, while women were enslaved.